Catching up

I’ve been trying to figure out how to catch up with my blog succinctly, without leaving anything out. And the fact of the matter is, I can’t. The nature of this tour is that it has A LOT of one-nighters. It happens too quick to keep up with it. Some of my castmates have been excellent about taking pictures at every venue and logging every restaurant we eat at for future reference. I have not.

It gets overwhelming trying to keep up with it all. Also, with all of the injustices happening in the world in the last couple of months, it’s hard to want to talk about things that seem frivolous, like theater or that I had honey butter on my corn muffin in Knoxville. Especially when in the very same town square that I enjoyed that corn muffin, and did my joy-filled show, during the Christmas Parade there was a civil rights protest.

I’ve been shocked and a little paralyzed by all of the atrocities that have occurred in the last couple of months. The positive take-away that I see is that a generation that has been blasted as being apathetic, lazy, and ineffective has taken to the streets to lie down with their fellow man in die-ins, to shout, to debate, to educate, to blog, and yes to fight for justice.

This is the digital age and you can’t hide anymore. You can’t sweep an awful crime under the rug. It will be exposed, and we are watching. This brilliant, passionate, and EFFECTIVE generation is watching and we won’t stand for it.

In the meantime, I’ve been doing a musical about singing nuns. I sometimes feel like what I’m doing doesn’t matter. I have to remind myself, that anything that brings as much joy as our show brings is a good thing. We do provide a service that is grossly needed. We are joy makers.

So, I’m sitting here at a cafe in Wausau, WI watching it snow outside the window, listening to Christmas music, and writing to you. This is what I can tell you. Things are easier for me this leg of the tour. Our schedule is a LITTLE nicer, but mostly it’s that I know what this is now. I know its blessings and its trappings. I know how to pack, what to eat, how much things cost, and my body is finally conditioned enough to do this show without falling over.

I’m looking forward to my Christmas break next week. It’s no secret that Christmas isn’t my favorite holiday, but that may be turning around a bit. I can’t wait to see my family and I feel so much more thankful than normal this year. To have this job…yes, but mostly I’m thankful to have my health, to have my family and friends, and to be alive. None of this is guaranteed. As a close friend of mine quoted a friend of ours who lost his life recently in a battle with cancer, there is “no time for fear.”

I love you friends. Have a beautiful holiday. I will be back after the New Year. A LOT of Florida in the next leg of the tour, so hopefully there will be a lot of pictures of fun in the sun!

Painted-heartHarmony

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Walking in Memphis

I had ONE day during my two weeks of plagues that I was feeling better before I was hit with my new sickness. BUT lucky me! It was in Memphis. I love love LOVED Memphis.

We walked from our hotel (walking in Memphis-hah!) to the historic Lorraine Hotel. The Lorraine Hotel is where Martin Luther King was assassinated. It is now the National Civil Rights Museum. The Lorraine Hotel part of it looks untouched. It is eery. I found myself getting incredibly emotional. You can tell that you’re on sacred ground. There was a crackle of electricity in the air and a heavy breeze. It is one of the most impactful places I’ve ever been and I feel so incredibly lucky that I was able to go there.

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After taking in the Lorraine Hotel, my cast headed to Central B Barbecue for some authentic Tennessee barbecue. It was absolutely delicious. Barbecue is probably my favorite thing on earth and this was good barbecue.

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central-bbq

After barbecue we went to this game. The Memphis Grizzlies were playing SOMEone…I can’t remember who. I just remember that it was a team with a bird name. And I hate birds. So of course I cheered for the Grizzlies. Also, my cast won free t-shirts because we were the loudest people in the arena, because of course we were.

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After the game it was time to hit Beale Street. We ended up at B. B. King’s and had a blast. And somehow I was still in bed by midnight. A really great day all in all.

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Up next: A lovely adventure in Baton Rouge!

Painted-heartHarmony

Another Suitcase in Another Hall

I feel like the mistress in Evita right now.

So what happens now? (What day is it? Month? Where are we?)
Another suitcase in another hall
So what happens now? (Huh? I have no idea. )
Take your picture off another wall
Where am I going to? (I THINK I’m in Texas?)
You’ll get by, you always have before
Where am I going to? (Or is it Louisiana?)

One-nighters hit me like a ton of bricks. I had tried to prepare myself for it, but it was exhausting. Top that with the fact that I was hit with the 10 plagues (Fire Ants, Gastroenteritis, Bed Bugs, Insomnia, Dehydration, Bus-sickness, Fever, Laryngitis, Sinus Infection, and Plantar Fasciitis). Fun, right? It was one thing after another for two weeks, so I was pretty miserable. I didn’t get to do much exploring at all. Any time that I had that wasn’t doing the show or on the bus, I was in bed. I was so thankful during that time for health insurance, our physical therapist, and an understanding roommate.

Week 3, 4: Lincoln, NE; Kalamazoo, MO; Texarkana, TX; College Station, TX; Tyler, TX; Orange, TX; Baton Rouge, LA

Lied Center in Lincoln, NE.
Lied Center in Lincoln, NE.
Miller Auditorium in Kalamazoo, MI.
Miller Auditorium in Kalamazoo, MI.
Perot Theatre in Texarkana, TX.
Perot Theatre in Texarkana, TX.
Rudder Auditorium in College Station, TX.
Rudder Auditorium in College Station, TX.
Cowan Center in Tyler, TX.
Cowan Center in Tyler, TX.
Lutcher Theater in Orange Texas.
Lutcher Theater in Orange Texas.
River Center in Baton Rouge, LA.
River Center in Baton Rouge, LA.

 These two weeks are all a blur unfortunately. I did have adventures in Memphis and Baton Rouge though. I’ll blog about them soon! Cheers!

HarmonyPainted-heart

On the Open Road!

After Wilmington, our bus tour officially began. Our first stop was Paducah, Kentucky: the quilting capital of the world. Who knew? I went to the National Quilt Museum and was truly blown away. There were traditional quilts there, but what I was drawn to could’ve been mistaken for impressionist paintings. They were abstract and rich and made me miss my mother because they reminded me of her paintings.

PADUCAH, KY

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The Carson Center in Paducah, KY. Stunning.
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Kentucky Moonshine!
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They are SERIOUS about quilting in Paducah.
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The National Quilt Museum. The quilting capital of the WORLD.
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Even the lobby of the Carson Center looks quilted!
Actors Arriving!
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I stood on this shore and waved to Illinois. My home. My heart.

Our next stop was Conway, Arkansas. We weren’t in town long enough to explore thoroughly, but there was one curious thing. There was a Sesame Street! And muppet signs all over the place. I did some research and they have a PBS studio near the theater. It was so random. One of the coolest things about this tour has been finding out what thing each of these towns is known for.

CONWAY, AR

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Reynolds Performance Hall in Conway, Arkansas.
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Signing posters for donors.
Happy Nun.
Happy Nun.
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Mr. Rogers on Sesame Street!
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How cute is this!?

We next moved into Galveston, TX which is a super cool town. It reminded me a bit of New Orleans. I wish I had been able to enjoy it more. Galveston is the town I started feeling sick in. This sickness would continue in one form or another for 2 more weeks. In fact, I am just now starting to feel normal again. I seriously think I’m allergic to Texas. Luckily, before my sickness hit me I was able to do a little exploring, including boarding the 1877 Tall Ship Elissa. Very cool!

GALVESTON, TX

The Beautiful Grand Opera House in Galveston, TX.
The Beautiful Grand Opera House in Galveston, TX.
Grand Opera House.
Grand Opera House.
Grand Opera House
Grand Opera House
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It really reminded me of New Orleans.
When in Texas?
When in Texas?
Galveston, TX.
Galveston, TX.
Tall Ship Elissa!
Tall Ship Elissa!
Captain's Wheel.
Captain’s Wheel.

Alright, that’s all you get this round! Next up: One-nighters begin and I am struck with the ten plagues: Fire Ants, Gastroenteritis, Bed Bugs, Insomnia, Dehydration, Bus-sickness, Fever, Laryngitis, Sinus Infection, and Plantar Fasciitis. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

Painted-heartHarmony

Tech in the Autumn

Tech for Sister Act was in beautiful York, Pennsylvania. We were in a great hotel with a kitchenette in the room so I was able to cook almost all my meals. This is a rare luxury on tour. (A post on tips to a more pleasant tour will be in a post soon.) So while I was having my typical tech meltdown, I was surrounded by beauty and convenience.

When we arrived it was 80 degrees and the pool was open. When we left, it was around 50. We watched the season change from Summer to Fall in 2 weeks. I grew up in New York State, and remember the lush and beautiful Falls of my childhood, so staying in York was almost like going home for me.

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While we were there we had a golden day. A golden day means you have no shows and no travel, you are free to do what you choose. Well I went to Gettysburg and had the time of my life. I explored a vintage hat store, went to the Wills’ house where Abraham Lincoln refined his Gettysburg address and of course strolled through the the Gettysburg National Cemetery. This was especially poignant for me as a Veteran. It was a very cool and humbling experience.

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After a full day of exploring on foot, I ended up at the Dobbin House Tavern. It’s in the basement of the famous Dobbin House which was one of the hiding spots on the Underground Railroad in the mid-1800s. After the battle of Gettysburg, the house served as a hospital for wounded soldiers from the North and South.

Now it’s a dimly lit, historically maintained tavern with delicious food. I had delicious fresh cheese and fruits, homemade date bread, onion soup, And there is THIS.

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HOT BUTTERED RUM:

Apple Cider

Sugar

Cinnamon

Nutmeg

Rum

AND BUTTER.

Ummmm What!? You read that correctly. A big ass dollop of butter. It was rude and it was AMAZING. It was like Apple Pie in a cup. I will be repeating this recipe until the end of time. It was the most delicious hot fall beverage I’ve ever had. TRY THIS. DO IT. It’s life changing. I MAY try it with whiskey instead though. 😉

The other great thing about York is that we had rental cars issued to us, so I felt pretty free. And I did a decent amount of shopping. Which is bad, but honestly, I packed completely wrong and my luggage sucked. So I’ve been buying what I need. I’m quickly figuring out what I need and what i don’t. When I go home for the holidays, I will definitely be dropping off a bunch of stuff.

So, York was pretty great. It was really long hours. Tech wasn’t the easiest. I’m not going to lie. It was grueling, but we got through it and previews were great. I’ve never been in a show that gets this much response from the audience. Standing ovations every single day, people screaming like they’re at a concert. It’s completely thrilling. I hope you’re having a beautiful Fall and make sure to have some buttered rum. DO IT.

imagesHarmony